Hello! If you have followed us for a while, you would know I have loved Planet Dog products since Diego was a pup. They were the first brand that I found that made toys that last and Diego was obsessed with their balls. This being said, when I saw DMDT Shop was having a sale I couldn't resist buying the Planet Dog - Zoom Flyer. I have been interested in frisbees or discs for a while now after seeing some awesome photos and videos of other dogs playing with them. Generally they are using more 'professional' discs but I thought this would be a cool opportunity to try out one from my favourite brands.
The Zoom Flyer comes in two sizes, Small (165mm) and Large (240mm). Diego is that annoying size where he is a small dog, but has the drive of a big dog which makes purchasing toys like this difficult. I went for the small which all photos and review will be based on that size, however in hindsight I should of gone with a large for Diego. Having a large may have changed the tune of this review, but least it gives us all a base to work from. They come in blue/orange or glow in the dark, however I am not sure if the glow in the dark colouring is available in New Zealand.
The Zoom Flyer is made with high-quality TPE rubber that is BPA, lead, and phthalate-free. As far as I am aware, this is the same material that their other toys are also made from. The outer ring of the disc is a flexible rubber that is thinner than that of the Planet Dog Balls. The centre of the disc is a different material and kind of reminds me of the plastic toys that you can buy. I couldn't find any more information on this material, but it has been weighted for easier flight. These discs are also lightly infused with natural mint oil to help combat bad breath during play time. I have found that once again, the balls held this scent more than this disc and after having it for several months there is not much scent in it. That might also be due to us using this toy in the lake and muddy forests though.
Let me start with this part of the review by saying I do not have a good throwing arm. I cannot throw balls or frisbees very well at all. If you have a skilled touch in throwing these, once again, you may have a different experience than I. I found that because the disc was both light and weighted, the throwing experience was weird. It was easy to throw, and generally went a long way and this was due to the weighted centre. However, at a certain point of throw, it would randomly twist and just drop straight down or ver to a hard right. I thought this was due to my throwing technique but after several days of different attempts I think it is just how the disc flies. I would love to hear how others have found it though! If I do get feedback about the handling of the disc, I will add it in now.
Planet Dog advertises this toy as buoyant. I have strong opinions about this. I play fetch with Diego into water a lot. I don't really like sticks for fetch anymore as he always hurts his gums on sticks when he chews them. This means when I go to the lake Diego will be playing fetch with some sort of toy. We have a multitude of balls to chose from, and have learnt from experience which ones float and which ones are less buoyant. Which if you are interested could be a cool blog post, let me know. Anyway, for me to want to take a toy back to the lake for fetch it must sit on top of the water and be easily visible by Diego. This disc does not. It floats, but just below the surface so when Diego is swimming he cannot easily see it unless he hits it with his paw. Years ago I had another frisbee that I played fetch with and Diego could see it when it was in the water so it is not the shape. The other problem is that Diego will accidentally hit it, because he can't see it clearly, and then it will go under water and take a while to bounce back up. I tried this three times at the lake over different days and the same result no matter if it was sunny or overcast. This lead to many times of Diego not being able to find the toy and me either having to retrieve it, or throw other sticks at it to get him to swim near it. So technically it is buoyant but would I advertise it as a good water toy, no.
Alright, so I did mention I should of got the large, and maybe this would have meant a thicker rubber that was more durable to Diego's teeth. The small has been demolished by Diego. I think we have played with this outside of the house for maybe five different occasions and then a couple of times at home. Within the first play down at the lake, the centre harder plastic had many teeth indents in it and there were cracks in the outer rubber corners. This is not me leaving Diego with the toy, this is just solely through fetch. We don't even tug with the toy as Diego has a fantastic drop command. He does chew when he fetches though, and likes to gnaw at toys as he runs with them. He will also sometimes stop halfway through fetch for a quick gnaw before returning the toy. The middle being dented looks just like minor imperfections and that they wouldn't affect too much. I also seriously believe that the large one would be better for Diego as his teeth would be less likely to get to the centre. The outside edges being ripped gives me more concern as this can then weaken the entire disc and make it easier for chunks to get ripped off.
So, what are my final thoughts?
I wouldn't say this is a bad toy. I think it has the properties of a good toy, I just really do think I got the wrong size. It would be very interesting to get the large and see if my feelings do change. I was upset to find the material of the centre piece to dented so easily when I have usually high regard for the materials that Planet Dog choses. Planet Dog do state on their website that it is not intended for being a chew toy, and is more aimed at interactive play. It definitely is not a competitive or professional disc by any stretch and doesn't have the aerodynamics of one. I think this would suit a dog smaller than Diego very well for play down at a park or a generously sized back yard. It could even suit an older dog or one that only wants a couple rounds of fetch before getting bored as it doesn't go too far, is nice and gentle on the outside of the ring and is fairly easy to throw.